Elizabeth Ayer

State Dining Room, 1919.

Elizabeth Ayer

Design/class B III project: gouache/watercolor with graphite and ink on paper.

Digital Collection item #ARC0887; URL: http://content.lib.washington.edu/u?/ac,1833

Elizabeth Ayer (1897-1987) was the first woman graduate of the UW College of Architecture program, in 1921. In 1919, while still a student, she was hired by Andrew Willatsen. The next year she began her long association with Seattle architect Edwin Ivey. From 1922-23 she worked in New York City, but then returned to Seattle, again working with Ivey, who was her mentor and main architectural influence. By the late 1920s, Ayer was identified as Ivey's "Associate." During the 1920s and 1930s, Ayer played key roles in design and supervision of the Ivey's residential commissions. About 1930, Ayer became registered as an architect in Washington State.

Following Ivey's sudden death in 1940, Ayer took over the firm with colleague Rolland Lamping. During World War II, Ayer and Lamping served as architects for the U.S. Engineer's office and after the war the two established the firm of Ayer and Lamping, where they focused on residential design until Ayer's retirement in 1970. In 1980, Ayer was honored by the Seattle Chapter of the AIA for her dedicated service as a pioneering female architect.